More Launches Ahead in Wallops Future - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

More Launches Ahead in Wallops Future

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WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - Earlier this month there was a mission to the moon and just last week, a trip to the International Space Station.  Things are busy at the NASA Wallops Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and the success of these missions calls for even more in the future.

As more and more rockets continue to take off from Accomack County, Wallops is drawing a lot of attention.

"Wallops is now a major player in orbital launches and even in extra planetary launches, going to the moon.  So, it's a major player and it's not going to go back.  Once we're in this league, you don't go back," said Dale Nash, the Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.

Nash said the recent launches have demonstrated how ready the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is for more missions.  Nash said it is all about getting the launch pads prepared quickly.

"If we can turn it around in 30 days, that gives Orbital, or someone else, but primarily Orbital and Antares, the ability to launch one every month.  That could get to 12 a year," said Nash.

That certainly does not mean 12 launches are on tap for 2014, but Nash does expect the number to climb.  The executive director said there are already a number of people who studied at Salisbury and in Delaware working on these space projects and more missions means more positions.

"Absolutely. You know, you can only go 60 hour weeks so long.  We surged now but if that becomes 6 launches a year, you have to begin to staff for that and it will mean more jobs for us, probably more jobs for Orbital and more for NASA," said Nash.

Two more launches are scheduled for this year from Wallops.  In November, a Minotaur rocket will be carrying satellites to space and in December, an Antares Rocket will once again be taking the Cygnus cargo space craft to space so it may dock with the International Space Station.

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